Coronavirus hospitalisations soaring on Belgian coast

Coronavirus hospitalisations soaring on Belgian coast
© Belga

New Covid-19 hospitalisations are on the rise in Belgium's westernmost province, where the number of daily admissions has soared since mid-July.

Since the start of July, the coastal province of West Flanders has recorded at least 113 new hospitalisations, largely surpassing the 71 recorded in the more densely populated capital.

The number of hospitalisations in West Flanders also nearly doubles the number of new admissions in the province of Antwerp, which has registered 62 since 1 July, according to figures by health institute Sciensano.

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Over a dozen coastal town mayors have imposed a set of measures to contain the rising number of hospitalisations in the province, home to just over 1 million people.

In a coordinated move coming into force on Thursday, 16 mayors banned outdoor and indoor events with more than 100 participants and made it mandatory for all residents above 12 to wear a face mask in public.

Their decree also makes it obligatory for everyone to carry a face mask with them when in public, subject to checks.

Anne Martens, the acting governor of West Flanders, Belgium's only coastal province, issued a call for the postponement of non-essential trips to the coast.

"If you do come to the sea, follow the rules very strictly," Martens said, in statements that echo calls from her Antwerp counterpart, Cathy Berx, for non-residents to steer clear of the Antwerp province.

A late-night curfew entered into force on Wednesday in Antwerp's entire provincial territory, which will last for at least four weeks as officials race to beat back soaring contagion rates, with additional measures rolled out in the city of Antwerp.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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